Jackie Biederman walked into her bedroom closet on July 27, closed the door and launched her first podcast.
“It’s the quietest place in the house with a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old,” the Woodbury work-from-home mom said.
“I had been getting pretty into podcasts over the years,” Biederman said. “I kept going back to the idea to help other people and how do I use the skills I have to do that?”
She quit her job as an IT project manager to care for her children, but she was keen to start a home business. She designed two mobile apps and started a consulting business. Neither venture got much traction, she said.
“I did some soul-searching over the course of a year,” Biederman said. “‘Who do I want to help and how do I want to help them?’ “
She began to think about what made such podcasts as “This American Life,” hosted by Ira Glass, so compelling. The answer: the stories. Let people tell her their stories, she thought.
With “Changemaker,” Biederman would curate the stories of innovators and startups that she hoped would inspire listeners to get involved.
She zeroed in on social entrepreneurs — activists who create a consumer product or service to help mitigate pollution, waste, hunger or other societal malady. Changemaker was the title she gave to these visionaries.
“A lot of changemakers have passion for an idea, but might not have the business knowledge,” Biederman said. “A story can help make boring topics about finance or marketing a bit easier to learn. A podcast seemed like a great format for this. Being home with the kids made it hard to connect with people during the day, but Skype calls at night or on weekends was something I could do."
On that first episode of “Changemaker,” she interviewed two entrepreneurs who were making a profit by making a difference: one by advocating eating bugs, the other by dumpster diving.
Laura D’Asaro discussed how she co-founded Six Foods, which sells Chirps Chips, cookies and other baked goods made from crickets. Yucky? Maybe. But cricket meat takes infinitely less water and land than it takes to raise beef cattle, Biederman said.
Her second guest, interviewed via Skype in her native Britain, was Jenny Costa. She founded Rubies in the Rubble, a company that packages and sells condiments, relish and other products recycled from discarded food.
Costa started the company after she became aware of the tons of fruit and produce that were thrown away due to some small blemish or imperfection that supermarket managers or restaurant owner considered unappetizing. She began trying recipes using mangos and other produce she salvaged from dumpsters.
“Jenny was super cool, easy going and willing to take time to answer a lot of questions,” Biederman said. “Very down to earth. I found her story through a Guardian article and loved what she was doing with leftover produce. She saw something that wasn't right and took action on it.”
Biederman’s next Changemaker podcast is Aug. 10. The theme is “Belonging,” explores the culture of brand loyalty that coalesces around certain products such as Harley Davidson, Tesla or Apple. Her guests include Katie Clark, a professor of transcultural nursing at Augsburg College; Charlie Rounds, an LGBT human rights activist; and digital storyteller Matt Scott.
The season continues bi-weekly for eight episodes.
For more information, visit www.changemakerpodcast.com.